It’s Happy Hour, not ‘Happy Every Hour’
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Not So Happy Hours
Having to work all day and party with colleagues all night sounds pretty miserable. Of course you’re feeling resentful. Most people would, in your position. Clearly, this kind of socializing is an important part of this company’s work culture but it isn’t sustainable if you aren’t a hard partyer or want to have any kind of personal life outside of work. Your inclination to have strong boundaries and protect your time is a good one. You have to reconcile that doing so may come at a cost in that sometimes, you will miss consequential conversations.
I imagine you can find a workable balance between protecting your time and participating in these after-hours activities once or twice a week. As you become more established, look for opportunities to suggest alternatives to these after-hours activities. Can any of these networking events take place during the traditional workday? Can some of those activities take place without heavy drinking? Regardless, your “don’t get drunk at work events,” policy is a good one. Don’t abandon it.
Unequal Pay for Equal Work
Unfortunately, when you demonstrate to employers that you’re willing to work for less than you deserve, they will let you do exactly that. You’ve done what most people would recommend — talked to your boss, and your boss responded as I would expect a manager would, with a cop-out. When you are making so much less than a colleague who is a peer that is absolutely your concern. And the disparity is criminal. You could revisit the conversation with your boss and ask what you need to do to receive a substantial raise but that seems like a dead end.
Now you have to decide whether or not you can stay at this company knowing what you know. I’m guessing you cannot, which means you want to start to look for a new job. In the future, when you receive a job offer, do as much research as you can about compensation and advocate for yourself, vigorously.
If you want to pursue a legal case, you do have some recourse. The federal Equal Pay Act affords you the right to receive equal pay for equal work in the same workplace; the New York Pay Equity Law is similar. If you pursue and win a lawsuit, you may receive back pay and other damages. But there is always a risk in going the legal route, from the financial costs to how it might affect your professional standing. I hope you are able to find a way forward that serves your best interests.
Keeping Up With Gen Z
I don’t think struggling to keep up with Zoom and Slack at the same time makes you old or out of touch. It’s a lot to manage. Or perhaps I am showing my own age. You are not alone in your struggle. It’s a lot to manage when you’re working across platforms simultaneously. Honestly, I would just bring it up with your boss. If people think you’re out of touch, that’s their misapprehension. There are worse things. If you want to figure out a better way to manage it all, try sizing the windows so that you can see both simultaneously, the same way you might follow a Zoom chat during a Zoom meeting. And give yourself some more time to get accustomed to this way of working. You’ve been in the position for only three months.
The Trials of Forced Festivity
As I’ve written in this column before, I hate mandatory fun at work. At the same time, I recognize the importance of collegiality and holiday celebrations as a way to bond as a team and acknowledge the festive season. Why not just skip the lunch? Life is too short to socialize with people you don’t like, even at work. If you do attend, try and focus on what you do respect about your colleagues. Steer clear of toxic discussions as best you can and focus on celebration and conviviality. I hope it works out and you find a team with whom you can feel the love.
Write to Roxane Gay at [email protected].